Skip to content


Mary Heilmann is an American artist known for her abstract paintings, ceramics, and furniture. Her imaginative color relationships are derived from a variety of sources, including the yellow-centric palette of the The Simpsons, California surf culture, and classic pop songs. “Rather than following the decrees of modern, non-representational formalism, I started to understand that the essential decisions taken during the creative process were more and more related to content,” she explained. Born in 1940 in San Francisco, CA, Heilmann graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1962. After studying poetry and ceramics at San Francisco State University, and sculpture at the University of California at Berkeley, she moved to New York. Primarily a sculptor, she began making paintings in the 1970s, which she often installed alongside or on top of furniture of her own making. Long considered a quintessential “painter’s painter,” she has gained widespread recognition later in life, with both her 2009 retrospective at the New Museum and her 2016 exhibition “Mary Heilmann: Looking at Pictures,” in London. She currently lives and works in New York, NY. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.

Back To Top